Food: fuel or pleasure / Marianna Leivaditaki / Match the words or phrases with the definitions. / Have you ever tried English food?What did you think of it? / Do not shop by mail before reading this article / How birth order influences your personality / Where do you think it comes from? / Double lives

In our super-busy 21st-century lives, most of us try to do as much as we can in 24 hours. However, we usually do things whenever it suits us, and experts say that this is disrupting our body’s natural cycle, making us feel tired at times when we should feel awake, and vice versa. Science shows that by doing things at the right time, we can be happier and healthier.

Have breakfast at 8.00 a.m.

In a recent study, researchers found having breakfast at this time is good for our blood sugar levels, so the food you eat now will give you the energy you need. It’s also important not to skip breakfast. Another research team, from Sweden, suggested that people who ate a regular breakfast as teenagers were 32% less likely to be at risk of heart disease as adults.

Don’t drink coffee in the morning. Have one at 3.00 p.m

Most coffee drinkers make a cup as soon as they wake up. However, researchers have suggested that early morning is the worst time to drink coffee, because it stops the body from producing the stress hormone cortisol, which we need at this time to help us to wake up. The best time to drink coffee – or caffeine in general – is between 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m., when it can make us more mentally alert, according to a study carried out by the University of Sheffield a few years ago.

Have lunch between 12.00 and 2.00

This is when our body digests food best, because this is when the stomach produces most acid. So it’s the ideal time to have your main meal of the day. An experiment by nutritionists at the University of Surrey found that blood glucose levels after an evening meal were much higher than when people had the same meal earlier in the day, and high levels of glucose can cause diabetes.

Have dinner at 7.00 p.m.

Have your evening meal early. It should be delicious – our sense of smell and taste are at their best at this time – but light.

And if you want a small glass of wine, have it before dinner, as 6.30 is when the liver is most efficient at dealing with alcohol.

I = Interviewer, R = Rumiko

Rumiko, what do you eat in a typical day?

R I don’t usually have breakfast because I can’t get up early enough to eat! I normally just buy a coffee and drink it in the office.

I usually have lunch in a restaurant near the office with people from work. When I was younger, I used to go to fast food restaurants and have pizza, or fried chicken and chips, but now I prefer eating something healthier, so I go to sushi restaurants or restaurants which serve organic food. And for dinner I eat out a lot too.

Do you ever cook?

R Well, I like cooking, but I work very late every day and also my kitchen’s too small. My boyfriend’s a better cook anyway.

T Do you ever eat unhealthy food?

R Well, I don’t eat a lot of sweet things but I drink a lot of coffee every day, I think I’m addicted to caffeine.

I Are you trying to cut down on anything at the moment?

R No. I eat healthily and I do exercise regularly, so I don’t think I need to cut down on food.

Are people’s diets in your country getting better or worse?

R Oh, probably worse. I think the diet in Japan today is much more westernized than before and that’s why some people are getting fatter. But personally, I like the fact that there are more different kinds of food and restaurants now. I enjoy the variety, it makes eating out much more fun.